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Characteristics of Acromegaly

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When we think of Abraham Lincoln the associations are plentiful, interesting and usually political in nature. One association which may be lesser often made is that he suffered from gigantism, a condition of inordinate growth, usually caused by acromegaly.

The pituitary is a small gland located at the base of your brain behind the bridge of your nose. It is responsible for the production of many different hormones including GH or growth hormone.

Acromegaly, a hormonal disorder, can develop in growing children or during adulthood, usually in middle age. This condition is the result of the pituitary gland producing too much GH or growth hormone. It causes an increase in the bone size of the hands, face and feet.

In children who are still growing, too much growth hormone can cause a condition called gigantism. This is most likely how Lincoln was affected. In such cases, children experience an increase in normal height and exaggerated bone growth.

Acromegaly is difficult to understand, largely due to the fact that it is not very prevalent in the general population and also because its effects occur slowly, over time, making it difficult to track.

Any changes that continue to occur, particularly in fully grown adults, should begin to be monitored. Changes in the size and structure of the bones in the face, an increase in one's ring or shoe size should be things that alert you to the possibility of acromegaly.

For more on this topic please refer to the following link


Aimee Boyle is a freelance writer and regular contributor to EmpowHer

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EmpowHER Guest

Readers may also be interested to read my summary and critique of the latest guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acromegaly.


September 11, 2011 - 9:45am
EmpowHER Guest

if you think that you might have acromegaly and would like to chat with other patients or learn more about the disease, I encourage you to check out www.AcromegalyCommunity.com. It is a great patient and family/friend support network!

April 7, 2010 - 6:56am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.